"Just be yourself."
I think this is the worst advice anyone could be giving to anyone else. I have been hearing, reading and seeing this phrase for as long as I can remember. If you google the phrase you will see articles on how to be yourself. You can download wallpapers for your computer desktops and phone backgrounds that remind you to "be yourself because you can't be anyone else." Lady Gaga wrote a song that says "I was born this way." Different phrasing, but still the same idea. Side note - Lady Gaga wasn't born that way, she was actually born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
I don't have to dig very deep to find out why being oneself is a bad idea. I just have find the closest mirror and look at it. According to most standards I am a pretty good guy. I love my wife, take care of my friends and family, give to the needy, go to church and I even made the bed this morning. I am not a serial killer. I don't have some deep dark secret that no one knows about. I am, all in all, a good guy. I think people could get around the idea of me trying to be myself...until...
Someone cuts me off in traffic or takes too long when I am in a hurry, or leaves a mean comment on a blog post, or posts a stupid opinion on facebook, or does anything that I, as myself, totally disagree with.
When that happens, I don't want to be myself because all I can feel and see is hate, rage and frustration. I don't see any positive traits in a person when they do something I disagree with and if we all looked deep inside ourselves we know that we have felt this way a time or two. Some of us always feel this way. Do you really want to be yourself at those moments? Filled with hate and anger? Filled with jealously and envy? Filled with bitterness and despair?
Our hearts are full of darkness and it doesn't take much for it to seep into this world. We, at our core, aren't good. We are dark and broken vessels. If we were inherintley good then the world wouldn't be inherrently evil. If being ourselves was all sunshine and rainbows then the world wouldn't be filled with porn addicts, adulterers, pedophiles, murderes, liars and theives. If being ourselves was so good we wouldn't have prisons being maxed out or wars raging on all ends of the earth. If being ourselves is such a good idea why do so many people hate themselves? Why do people kill themselves? Why are we force feeding people the idea to be themselves like it is the only option for happiness when it is actually the only option for pain and destruction.
Our goal should always be to be less and less like ourselves and more and more like Christ. In his dying moments on this earth He chose to forgive and not to hate those who were killing him. He spent his time on earth healing people, feeding people and loving people. His life wasn't about his agenda or fame. His life was about teaching people a new and amazing way to live centered around loving God and loving others. He was, and is, the model of perfection and the ultimate goal in who we should be striving to be like.
I want to stop accepting this lie that our society keeps trying to force feed me. I want to stop trying to be myself and set my goal way higher. I want to set it on perfection personified.
I want to set it on true hope, love and grace. I want to set it on Jesus because I am tired of being myself.